A Chicago police officer named Jeffrey Kriv managed to avoid 44 traffic tickets by repeatedly claiming in court that his girlfriend had stolen his car, a strategy allowed him to escape accountability for his actions and sheds light on the troubled history of police corruption.
A joined investigative report by Chicago Tribune and ProPublica revealed that Kriv used the same alibi in traffic court over and over, presenting what appeared to be legitimate police incident reports as evidence of the car thefts. These reports featured names and badge numbers of fellow officers and were obtained from police headquarters. However, Kriv never disclosed that he himself was a Chicago police officer himself.
According to Cook County prosecutors, Kriv successfully avoided paying for 44 traffic tickets since 2013 using this alibi.
While Kriv’s audacity was apparent when contesting his tickets, it also extended to his professional conduct. He accumulated a significant number of complaints from citizens and fellow officers alike. He staunchly defended himself against these allegations, showcasing a troubling pattern.
Although Kriv’s on-duty misconduct was considerable, he managed to retain his position as a Chicago police officer. Despite repeated complaints and disruptive behavior, he faced no significant consequences. This was largely due to the city’s inadequate system of police discipline.
While not considered one of Chicago’s most notorious corrupt cops, Kriv had a record of misconduct, including physical abuse and flouting rules. Despite numerous complaints, none of his on-duty misconduct resulted in the loss of his badge and gun. It was only through an external tip and questions about his testimony in traffic court that his career was unraveled.
Kriv’s troubles began shortly after he became a police officer in 1996. Throughout his career, he accumulated an alarming number of complaints, including incidents of rudeness, physical abuse, offensive behavior, and false statements. Internal investigations into Kriv’s alleged misconduct numbered at least 92, with approximately 28% of these complaints deemed meritorious compared to the average of 4% for other Chicago police officers.
Aside from his traffic court exploits, Kriv’s personal life also raised concerns. Notably, his father was involved in fraudulent activities that led to federal imprisonment. Additionally, Kriv’s educational background and his involvement in legal disputes remain murky.
Even his fellow officers filed complaints against him. Internal affairs records indicate that Kriv was reported for failing to arrest an intoxicated off-duty sergeant involved in a crash. Other incidents involved mistreating his police partner and impounding a vehicle without proper justification.
Despite the numerous complaints and suspensions totaling 170 days, Kriv’s disciplinary records were riddled with lenient punishments, often reduced through the department’s grievance system.
The Chicago Police Department and Kriv’s lawyer declined to comment on the matter.